Bankers tell pupils all about finances

Ayla Nelson is rethinking her views on money.

"I spend it right after I get it," said the Gracewood Elementary School fourth-grader, who learned a little about the importance of having a budget and saving Friday during a visit from a Georgia lawmaker and three Georgia Bank & Trust Co. employees.

The American Bankers Association's Teach Children to Save program is a national campaign designed to raise awareness about the role of banks and to help children develop lifelong savings habits, according to a news release from the association.

The lessons broke saving down to the fourth-grader's level, suggesting, for example, saving from an allowance to buy a concert ticket. With a weekly income of $15, they were urged to make a budget with categories such as lunch, snacks and entertainment, and they had to determine where to make cuts in order to save for the ticket.

Another exercise urged the children to think of other ways of getting items they wanted without paying full price -- such as borrowing books and DVDs from the library instead of buying them.

"Unless you have millions and millions of dollars, you can't always buy everything you want. You make to make decisions," Angie Morales, a Georgia Bank & Trust vice president, told the students as they made a list of "wants" and "needs" and determined which was which.

"A good example is the phone," she said. "You probably need a phone, but you probably want an iPhone."

Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., who also visited the school, added another category to wants and needs.

"There are three things -- what you need, what you want and what you think you want but don't really want," he said. "I've spent money on things I thought I wanted, (but) I didn't want as much as I wanted something else."

Another fourth-grader, Eddie Jones, said he thought the information was good.

"I think it's going to help us later on in life," he said.

At the end of the presentation, the children received a piggy bank.

Morales said they also do presentations at the middle and high school levels. At high schools, students learn the importance of credit and how to manage it.

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